EP. 18 | Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on finding the right agent to publish your work

If you are looking for an agent you’ll have to pull all your connections and you can’t be too pushy but you can’t give up easily

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai 

In this episode, Vietnamese-born author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai talks about the publishing journey of her first novel, The Mountains Sing. She discusses why it was important for her to find the right agent, and what her experience was like working with a whole publishing team to edit her novel.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • How to know an agent is right for you.
  • Strategies and tips to finding agents that will be interested on your work.
  • Reasons as of why you may want to have an agent and how this will shape your writing career.

I had an agent before and the relationship didn’t go so well and I felt she wasn’t the right agent… and so I took the risk and ended the relationship. I think sometimes you have to take the risk to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai 

Connect with Quế Mai:

Website / Twitter / Instagram / FaceBook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 17 | Inés G. Labarta on publishing as a multilingual writer

if i look back to all the things i published… i realise that there was a previous connection with the publisher beyond me just sending them my work. for example, a publisher was looking for something and a friend of mine knew i was working on something similar so they recommended me.

Inés g labarta

Inés G Labarta started writing in Spanish but she switched to English when she moved to the UK. She has had a multilingual writing career since then publishing novellas in English – McTavish Manor – and in Spanish – Kabuki. In this extract, Inés discusses how to write in a langue that is not your mother tongue and how to find publishers in different countries.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Publishing novellas
  • Working on a writing career in multiple languages
  • Using social media to help your publishing journey

with publishing is very important to be always sending things out while working on something else.

Inés g labarta

Connect with Inés:

Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 16 | charley barnes on publishing crime fiction

In terms of deciding which publishers to approach I tried to research books I felt my book could sit alongside… if the publishers were accepting unagented submissions I’d approach them directly and if not I’d look for the agent that had represented that book on the first instance… That got me into the habit of sending submissions out on regular basis and checking submission guidelines.

charley barnes

Charley started writing crime fiction while doing a Creative Writing PhD and since then she’s authored many books including Intention, Copycat and her most recent one to this date Sincerely, Yours. When looking for a publisher for her very first novel, Charley knew they had to be someone who were working with crime fiction specifically. She ended finding a very good fit in Bloodhound Books and has worked with them for many years now.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Publishing crime fiction
  • Forming a long-term relationship with a publisher
  • Publishing without having an agent

Connect with Charley:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 14 | rob m francis on embracing the uncertainty of the publishing process

‘Having sent quite a lot of poems out the previous years and having got nowhere with them… apart from getting enough rejections slips to wallpaper a room, I got a handwritten note from the editor of Fire saying that they’d accept my publication, and I think that was the first time that I felt that what I was doing was worthwhile… and that would then propel me forward, and it did, it became quite an addictive feeling, getting poems and short stories published in magazines…’

rob m francis

It took several years until Rob M Francis had his first piece published. Now he’s the author of numerous poetry pamphlets and two novels, Bella and The Wrenna, both published with Wild Pressed Books. He works as a Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. In this extract, Rob talks about the excitement of getting a piece published and how you can use that energy to keep sending your work out.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Finding the energy to submit your work to different publications.
  • The importance of remembering the first piece you ever published.
  • Knowing when your writing is ready to be sent out.

‘That sense, that juice, that energy, that drive, that sense of validation that you get through publishing books is quite different [from publishing shorter pieces] because you spend so long on a particular project.’

rob m francis

Connect with Rob:

Website / Twitter

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 13 | lisa blower on arduous publishing journeys

My first novel, Sitting Ducks, had an arduous journey… it was picked by two big publishing houses and dropped twice… At this point I had been shortlisted for the BBC short story award, written short stories for Radio 4 and everyone was like “where is your novel?” but nobody wanted it…

lisa blower

Lisa Blower had won many prestigious awards for her short stories and yet, the publishing journey for her debut novel, Sitting Ducks, was a long and strenuous one. But Lisa had faith in the writing and didn’t give up. If you’ve ever been at a point where you doubt if your book will ever find a publisher, go and get Lisa’s wise words of encouragement! As she says, class can be an important factor in the publishing journey – and a sign that publishing houses need to create space for more diverse voices.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • The ins and outs of publishing deals.
  • Different routes to publication, including crowdfunding your project.
  • Why your novel may not have found a publisher yet.

What I have realised is that publishing is a class issue and a lot of the people reading me are of a different class to what I’m reflecting and certainly the voice I often write in… and so when the rejection comes it really frustrates me because is not the writing they’re rejecting, it’s the class I’m reflecting.

lisa blower

Connect with Lisa:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 12 | yvonne battle-felton on finding the right publisher

There was a publisher who loved the writing, loved the story, but didn’t fall in love with the characters. Which is fine, what can I do with that? Well, I don’t want my book in a place where people don’t fall in love with the characters. There were other editors that didn’t pick it because they thought it was going to be competing with another book they thought was similar.

yvonne battle-felton

In this extract, Yvonne Battle-Felton discusses her publishing experience and how she found an editor for her first novel, Remembered. This is a heartbreaking story about two sisters living as slaves in 19th century America, and what became of her lives once slavery was abolished. Yvonne wrote it as part of the Creative Writing PhD she did at Lancaster University, researching real-life letters and other documents which inspired her characters.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Knowing if you have found the right editor for your manuscript.
  • Submitting short pieces to magazines and journals.
  • Finding publishing opportunities such as the Northern Writers Awards, that Yvonne won in 2017.

I always research a publication before I submit regardless of what their call is, because I think there’s nothing worse than getting rejected from a publication that you haven’t even read… Look at what they publish because then you can see if that’s the sort of place where you’d like to see your work…. I’d never submit to a publication that I wouldn’t read.

yvonne battle-felton

Connect with Yvonne:

Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.